Worse than Half-Empty

August 17, 2014

screwedDeep-blanket fog, bordering on drizzle this Sunday morning on California’s north coast, but unlike a shitload of other places all over this anxiety-riddled, ridiculous world, in a little while we’ll get sunshine and warmth.
Technically, the weather people term it ‘Partly cloudy,’ but in reality, it’s as good as it gets — a few clouds blocking the sun, keeping temperatures in the low 60s to mid-70s, and a slight cool breeze, and, usually all of that before noon.

In many parts of the globe, and especially here in the US, it was never, and won’t-ever-be, ‘as good as it gets,’ and the weather (‘the total emotional and intellectual response of an individual to external reality‘) across everywhere is fair-to-middling shitty.

(Illustration found here).

Beyond the physical — like Ferguson, Missouri, for instance — America’s mental state is also collapsing: ‘This fractious nation is united by one thing: Lost faith in the U.S.’

According to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, Americans look at the glass as being half-empty, and apparently have been for some time:

When asked if “life for our children’s generation will be better than it has been for us,” fully 76 percent said they do not have such confidence.
Only 21 percent did.
That was the worst ever recorded in the poll; in 2001, 49 percent were confident and 42 percent not.

For much of U.S. history, optimism was a given.
The Washington Post’s polling analyst, Scott Clement, came up with a 1942 survey by Princeton University’s Office of Public Opinion Research that found U.S. parents, by 43 percent to 27 percent, expected their children to be better off in 20 years.
A Roper poll in 1983 found that 54 percent thought it likely that children would have a better life than their parents, versus 44 percent who didn’t.
In 1990, the WSJ/NBC poll found the optimists besting the pessimists, 50 percent to 45 percent.
Since then, various polling outfits have had different results, with some finding generally higher levels of optimism and others closer to the NBC/WSJ results.
But virtually all polling shows a steep decline in optimism since the late 1990s and early 2000s.

And what the hey? Americans can smell the shit out of DC, the US government has become an incompetent, lumbering, idiot-giant — another poll earlier this month showed we’re so sick of Congress, 51 percent ‘disapprove of their own representative,’ a historical turn-about in wretched political affairs.
Yet with three-quarters of us thinking our kids won’t have a better life than we did, the reality of the problem is way-even worse. We’re all really one generation right now.

And down in the trenches, where money talks, bullshit walks, and so forth — add to the anguish, no cash is to spare amongst Americans.
Via USAToday:

The Federal Reserve’s wealth effect is in short supply.
According to a new report from the central bank, 25 percent of American households say their families are “just getting by” financially, and another 13 percent are “finding it difficult to get by.”
Compared to five years earlier, 34 percent feel like they are worse off today, while the same number feel about the same.
Only 30 percent report that they were somewhat or much better off financially.
The survey polled more than 4,100 respondents between September and October last year.
“Many households in the United States have been tested by the Great Recession. Large-scale financial strain at the household level ultimately fed into broader economic challenges for the country, and the completion of the national recovery will ultimately be, in part, a reflection of the well-being of house- holds and consumers,” explains the report.

The results reflected diverse downward economic trends of several factors, like college educations, transportation and real estate. But a major culprit is also the misguided flow of financial prosperity: “The American economy has experienced rising income and wealth inequality for several decades, and there is little evidence that these trends are likely to reverse in the near term,” the report states.
The rich are getting richer…and so forth…

And why not?
And, hate to kick sad-sack when he’s down, but indeed the rich are raking in the dough — another freakin’ study, via US News and World Report:

Rich Americans have been getting richer while poorer households lag in terms of income growth – and the trend’s not expected to slow anytime soon.
The top 20 percent of the highest income households in the U.S. experienced 60.6 percent of total wage gains between 2005 and 2012, and the top 5 percent overall captured 27.6 percent of total gains, according to a report Monday from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and IHS Global Insight.
Median household incomes will rise by 2.5 percent in 2014, then by 3.8 percent a year through 2017, according to the report.
But mean household pay will climb 2.7 percent in 2014 and by 4.1 percent in 2017, meaning the middle class will continue to stall as wage growth goes to more affluent households.

The future is not whether the glass is half-empty/full or not, but the crux of a future’s problem is the glass itself.

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